Cardiovascular Services

Making Heart Care Personal

Scott Maurer was refereeing a high school basketball game when he experienced shortness of breath and pain that led to open-heart surgery at age 47. “You can imagine the thoughts and fears that ran through my head,” he said. “I was scared to death.” But compassion and support from the Allegiance heart care team and a fellow heart-surgery patient helped Scott through to a strong recovery.

For Scott and his wife, Wendy, the most remarkable part of their experience at the Allegiance Health Heart Center was “the professional and personal level of care” they both received. “There isn’t a finer bunch of people anywhere,” Scott said. “Everyone went out of their way to put us at ease, including Stanley, who cleaned my room and never failed to brighten my day.”

Scott said he was also impressed with the care and attentiveness of cardiovascular surgeons, Mahender Macha, MD, and Vincent Simonetti, MD. “Both of them came in to see me two or three times a day. And on the evening of my surgery, Dr. Macha was monitoring my vital signs every hour from his home.”

Next to Wendy, Scott’s greatest supporter was former Allegiance open-heart surgery patient Denny Kerwin. The two met briefly after Scott’s pre-surgery tour of the Heart Center. “Denny could tell how anxious I was, and he came to see me every day of my hospital stay. He’s a top-notch person, and his own recovery gave me confidence that I’d be okay too,” Scott said.

“There isn’t a finer bunch of people anywhere than the doctors and nurses at Allegiance Health who took care of me. Everyone went out of their way to put my wife and me at ease.”

Scott Maurer

If Scott could send a message to others facing open-heart surgery, he said, “It would be that you can come back strong. Since my surgery, I’ve been working out at the Allegiance Wellness Center every day at 5 a.m., and I have more energy than I ever had before.” Last fall, Scott had the honor of refereeing the state high school football tournament.

Celebrating Five Years of Open-Heart Services

Allegiance Health’s open-heart program celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2013. Under the leadership of University of Michigan cardiovascular surgeons Mahender Macha, MD, and Vincent Simonetti, MD, the program consistently achieves shorter hospital stays, fewer serious complications and fewer hospital readmissions than state and national averages. Allegiance Health is grateful for the support of our community, physicians, staff and volunteers, whose generous gifts to the Allegiance Health Foundation helped make this program possible.

Exercise may help relieve stiffness, reduce pain and fatigue, and improve muscle and bone strength in arthritic joints.